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a series of fragments & notes about chance, fate, context & intention by Dara Wier ______________________________

secrets and related matters

when you have a secret, when you keep it, when you tell it

when you tell your secret to someone else you tell it in order for someone else to be keeping it, too

keeping a secret together, keeping it between you

when someone says to you, I have a secret to tell you

when someone indicates you will have a secret together

when you know something about someone else, something that will have a crucial effect in someone else’s life, and you know this other person is clueless, what determines when and if you tell them what you know, or not

secret societies secret handshakes passwords, slang, vocabularies, signs & codes secret weapons secret recipes ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ the artist who described herself as subtle, as preferring subtlety saying so in a quiet voice, almost under her breath

almost a stage whisper what are the consequences of that completely shocking (not subtle) and dissonate thought for us when we’ve just seen samples that are many things and subtle is not one of them (American history’s small pox delivery system, the unsubtle nature of an arbitrary border; social commentary, satire, satire which can be subtle but is most often not so subtle) (subtle satire? is this possible, recommended, is it advisable?)

and what is so good about subtle anyway it seems as if subtle is one of those things we are always led to believe is to desired

which leads to someone saying something is subtle when it is not when it is anything but

subtle sometimes feels as if someone is saying to us mind your manners, as if so-called polite society doesn’t want to hear what isn’t subtle

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ the big deal we always make about art being ambiguous, art being whatever one makes it (well, obviously, who can argue with that, it might look as if this is arguable in the circumscribed (& small) context of a test answer but that is so arbitrary is it worth bothering about?)

what’s not ambiguous, what’s not

it’s not that we’re looking at (reading) different things (though we are) it’s that we’re encountering exactly the same, maybe powerful, distinctively itself, and unique (isn’t everything basically unique) thing

Piero della Francesca’s Resurrection is itself, it is exactly one thing, and when I am standing by it with a friend and we are looking at it together we are looking at the same painting together and though……. we all know our minds tend to go their separate ways

To argue that being unique ourselves we are bound to have uniquely our own individual, egocentric, indiosyncratic experience with the painting, is, well, unnecessary. We know this.

(see Frank O’Hara writing in “Having a Coke with You” taking or not yet having taken his friend to The Frick to stand together in front of a Bellini)

(St. Francis, where a couple of weeks ago I stood thinking hmmmm, I wonder if I can stand in the same space in the empty air where long ago Frank O’Hara once stood and gazed (well, maybe not gazed, who knows how his look looked) (and the subject of gaze could get to be a distraction, but not at this time) at St. Francis. I even fantasize briefly about adopting an imagined posture, as if where O’Hara stood could be outlined like the template for a piece of a 3-D puzzle (or an image of a hologram) and we could take turns stepping into that space. Why, because sometimes we need to be a visitor, someone who imagines one feels exactly the way someone else might feel, because we’re mostly on our own and often enough like to be with someone other than ourselves. To have a secret together.

And suddenly I see the weirdly modern drainage device coming out of bedrock in the bottom left-hand corner of that painting—–shocking, I’d never noticed the drainage before, never, and now, suddenly, it is the central most significant detail in the painting, how did this happen—–) ~~~~~~~~~ “being observed, spoken about, the object of eavesdropping, followed by strangers”. —quoting myself quoting someone else in IU 19, and of relevance at this time because of several conversations I’ve been having with others interested in seeing from where gaze takes on its newer more regulated more narrowly confined meaning: as in any kind of participation in anything in which surveillance comes into play: the ___________gaze, as brought to you by several among whom Michel Foucault comes to enlist these 3 areas of interest: biopower, power/knowledge, panopticism, for which the 3rd on account of its more exotic collection of syllables gets my attention: panopticon induced


~~~~~~~~~~ it’s relevant how often what we know obscures what we don’t know, how frequently knowledge gets in the way of finding out about something else ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“the absurdity of the story rested in the immaturity of the attitude combined with the sophisticated method of its narration.”



Dara Wier is the author of twelve books of poetry, including Selected Poems, Remnants of HannahReverse Rapture, and You Good Thing (now available from Wave Books). She teaches in the University of Massachusetts MFA Program for Poets and Writers. Her awards include the Poetry Center and Archives Book of the Year Award, a Pushcart Prize, the American Poetry Review’s Jerome Shestack Prize, and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation. She edits Factory Hollow Press. Visit her author page at Wave Books or read an interview.